The SmarK Rant for ECW Deep Impact
– I was initially hesitant to do this rant, because I figured that if I gave my 2 cents on it, 1.8 of them would go to Paul’s creditors.
– Anyway, easy cheapshots aside, this is ECW’s latest DVD offering, along with the butchered version of Barely Legal currently out, and it’s following up a pretty-darn-good Path of Destruction video. Again, I appreciate the thought of making these Dolby Digital 5.1 sound, but since the original shows were recorded on what sounds like the equivalent of a pocket tape recorder, it doesn’t really help at all. Especially when they have to overdub music they no longer have the rights to use, like “Enter SandmanÃ¢â‚¬Â, with crappier versions from their crappy CDs.
– Section One: Title Matches
– ECW World title match: Mikey Whipwreck v. The Sandman v. Steve Austin. From December 1995. There’s a huge lengthy video package to explain the whole buildup to this, which longtime ECW watchers know by heart, with Mikey winning the title in a fluke from Sandman, Austin invading ECW and taking out Sandman at November to Remember 95 and subbing against Mikey (and losing), thus leading to this. Austin debuts the Forrest Gump crewcut here and flips off the fans to start. In a cute bit of revisionist history, Joey dubs in a new line about Austin not being able to make a living flipping people off. Steve & Mikey start without Sandman for no adequately explored reason and some token mat wrestling to establish Mikey as the underdog. Austin hits the facelock, boring the crowd. Mikey works a headlock, but Austin chops him. Mikey tries a sunset flip, and Sandman hits the ring. Mikey dumps Austin, but gets piledriven on the floor. Austin keeps pounding Mikey for shits and giggles while waiting for Sandman to finish. Austin & Sandman slug it out, as Mikey comes in with a rana on Sandman, and one for Austin which is blocked with a powerbomb for two. Mikey dumps Austin and Sandman brawls with him before Mikey hits a somersault plancha onto both of them. Back in, Mikey fights off both guys and goes low, but misses a bodypress. Another try gets Sandman for two. Austin goes piledriver, kneedrop and stungun, however, to eliminate Mikey. Austin & Sandman brawl outside, and into the crowd. Sandman drops a table on him, but Austin stops a 2nd try. Stungun on the railing, Sandman shakes it off. Austin shoves him through a table and chokes him down. Back in, rope staddle gets two. Gourdbuster and kneedrop allow Austin to STEAL THE BEER and spit it at Sandman. Bad idea, as Woman pours beer on a pissed off Sandman to revive him fully, as he makes the Superdrunk comeback. Ref bump, and Austin uses the dreaded brass knuckles for two. Sandman gets them, uses them, and falls on top for the pin at 20:01. Slow, sloppy and generally dull, especially by 95 ECW standards. Austin was actually too talented to mesh with the more amateurish style of Sandman and Mikey. *
– ECW World title match: Terry Funk v. Sabu. This would be the famous “Born to Be WiredÃ¢â‚¬Â match from August 1997, prompted by one of Sabu’s temper tantrums about wanting the World title again. No ropes, just barbed wire. Mat stuff to start and Terry tries to whip Sabu into the wire. No go there. Funk bails to avoid the same, but comes in and gets chinlocked. Funk gets a neckbreaker and piledriver for two. DDT and they fight over the wire. Sabu gets a rana for two, and Funk’s kickout puts Sabu into the wire as blood flows like Gatorade. Funk crotches Sabu on the barbed wire in a sick spot. Funk whips him into the wire, and Sabu’s arm STICKS. Ew. Funk punches him down. Sabu whips him into the wire and ties him there, then gets some chairshots and more wire wackiness. Sabu finds a spike in his boot (and you thought it was tough to walk with a pebble in there ) and carves him like Dusty Rhodes attacking a turkey on Thanksgiving. Blind charge hits wire, and his arm gets butchered in the process. I mean, the wire literally tore a huge strip out of his arm. Sabu grabs a roll of tape and starts desperately taping up his entire arm to stop the blood as Funk covers for two. Neckbreaker on a pair of chairs allows Sabu more time to finish the job. Now, normally I wouldn’t criticize a guy breaking kayfabe because of injury, but if you’re so badly injured that you have to effect self-repairs in the middle of a match while taking a neckbreaker, you should just go home, in both senses. The match was at about 10 minutes at that point, which should have been plenty for the sadistic heartless vampires in the ECW audience, the point was made, and there’s no need to continue on, especially if it’s gonna destroy the match. He bails to finish the tapejob and they brawl outside. Back in, Funk goes after Fonzie, and suplexes Sabu on the wire. Funk carves Fonzie up, then cuts some wire loose and whips Sabu with it. Sabu cuts half the wire loose and RVD does a silly run-in to buy more time while they set up the incredibly contrived finish. Rob wraps Funk in wire and Sabu puts him through a table, which added nothing to the match. I mean, can you honestly tell me that it’s more painful-looking to go through a table than it is to use barbed wire on the guy? Barbed wire is actually causing real, physical damage to the guys, and the fans can see that. A table being broken was becoming clichÃƒÂ© even in 1997 and no one thought it meant anything anymore until the Dudleyz revived it. I mean, it’s kinda like two boxers pounding each other for 5 rounds and then one of them using a bodyslam to get the KO Ã¢â‚¬â€œ the silly wrestling spot completely breaks up any realism or sense of serious threat that the match was presenting up to that point. So now Tommy Dreamer runs in and takes RVD out, as Sabu covers Funk for two. He wraps himself in wire, puts Funk through another table, and they crawl in and Sabu gets another two count. They roll around and Sabu gets an awkward and anticlimactic cover for the winning pin at 20:40. The first few minutes were interesting as a study in “how far can Paul push the envelopeÃ¢â‚¬Â, but once Sabu injured himself it turned into ridiculous geekshow junk. I have nothing against horrific violence for the sake of it, since both guys are into it and all, but once the silly wrestling angles started getting into it, the match was a wash. DUD
– ECW TV title match: Taz v. Bam Bam Bigelow. From Living Dangerously 98. I have no idea how this made the cut. I now have to consciously fight the compulsion to type “TazzÃ¢â‚¬Â, which shows you how powerful the WWF marketing machine really is. Taz grabs an armbar right away, and Bam Bam makes the ropes. Taz dumps him, but gets caught coming off the apron and posted. Brawl outside, and Bigelow takes over back in the ring. Powerbomb gets two. Avalanche by Bigelow, but Taz gets a lariat out of the corner. Bigelow falls on top of him during a suplex attempt for two. They brawl outside and Taz suplexes Bigelow off the ramp, to the floor, nearly killing both of them in the process. Of course, those who’ve seen this match know the reason for all of the out-of-ring stuff. They brawl in the crowd and back to ringside. Back in, Bigelow DDTs Taz and goes up for the Lunasault, which misses completely but still gets two. Exposing the business is EXTREME! Bigelow grabs a table, which is not only pre-cut but pre-broken, and somehow sets it up. However, Cruel Mistress Irony ordains that Taz put Bigelow through it instead, and that gets two. Brawl outside and they slug it out. More brawling as the match slows drastically. Back in, Taz applies the Tazzmission, and Bigelow falls back, breaking a large hole in the ring where both guys fall through. The crowd is shocked, but watching it now it just looks so fake. Bigelow crawls out and pins Taz to win the title at 13:38. Nothing really to the match besides the big spot. **1/2
– Section Two: Hardcore Matches
– Terry Funk & Sandman v. Shane Douglas & Cactus Jack. This is a match included for the foreign object used rather than any significance or quality. Big brawl as Douglas and Sandman pair off and Shane canes him. Funk & Cactus fight over a chair and Cactus lays in some shots, but hits Shane by accident. Douglas walks out following an argument, but returns to cane the faces following a 2-on-1 beatdown on Jack. Cactus Clothesline puts Funk out, then Sandman, then Funk, then Sandman. Cactus drops the big elbow on Funk as Shane brawls with Sandman. Shane & Funk brawl, then the heels double-team Funk for two. Funk comes back with a DDT on Shane and brawls outside with Cactus. Back in, Sandman DDTs Shane, then the faces toss the railing into the ring. Shane gets pounded with it in just about every way you can imagine, some even involving his groin. Imagine that. Funk chairs Cactus to keep him outside, but Jack fights back and brawls into the crowd with him. Funk DDTs him on the floor, and everyone brawls to the entryway. Jack & Sandman head back to the ring, where Jack legdrops Sandman under a chair. Sandman goes low and DDTs Jack, then goes up for a Milwaukee Jam, which gets two. Douglas returns and pummels him, and Funk ups the stupidity ante by debuting the flaming branding iron, thus justifying the spot on the video. He “brandsÃ¢â‚¬Â Cactus and piledrives him on it for the pin at 12:56. I guess having a brand name isn’t that important after all. Ahem. **
– Masato Tanaka & Jerry Lynn v. Mike Awesome & Justin Credible. This is more up my alley. Tanaka & Awesome start and exchange chops, viciously. Tanaka clotheslines him out and charges with a chair, splatting Awesome into the ringpost. Back in, Awesome no-sells Lynn’s stuff and drops him on his face. Hell, after surviving what Tanaka just threw at him, I’d say he’s justified. Justin comes in with some chops, but Lynn dropkicks him in the corner and gets a back elbow for two. Blind charge misses and Justin goes for a suplex, which is reversed to an elbow. Tanaka comes in, Justin cowers, and Awesome is tagged back in as a result. Awesome gets an awesome german suplex and a shortarm clothesline, but Tanaka escapes the Awesomebomb. Awesome whiplashes him instead for two and dumps him. Lynn and Credible go, as Lynn gets a headscissors, baseball slide and SUPERDUPER plancha as Awesome does the same to Tanaka. Great sequence. In the ring, Awesome gets a frog splash for two. They do the chairshot routine, and Justin gets two after three shots to the head of Tanaka. Tanaka comes back with a powerslam, however, and Lynn comes in with a backdrop suplex for two. Minnesota Jam gets two. Justin goes low and Lynn’s in deep shit. Awesome splash gets two. Belly to belly gets two. Justin hits the chinlock, which leads to a pinfall reversal sequence and Lynn takes a sideslam. Another great sequence there. Awesome gets a corner splash for two. Justin lays in the choppage, but Lynn goes low and makes the hot tag. Running elbows on Justin get two. Superplex gets two. Tornado DDT on chairs gets two, with Awesome making the save. Awesome hotshots Tanaka and powerbombs him through the everpresent table outside, but in the ring Lynn reverses That’s Incredible for the pin at 14:59. Super, super hot match. ****
– Section Three: Classic Matches. This is stuff only available on the DVD.
– Psicosis v. Tajiri. From August 2000. Psi goes to the mat, but Tajiri turns it into a modified crab. Psi goes to the legs and into the bow-and-arrow, and they back off. Wristlock sequence leads to an overblown gymnastics exhibition. They exchange kicks and into another gymnastics routine. I appreciate the athleticism needed to pull that stuff off, but it just doesn’t add anything to the MATCH. I have the same problem with all of RVD’s theatrics. Psi uses some kicks but runs into a bigger kick. He counters the tornado DDT with a front suplex. Sunset flip gets two, reversed to a bizarre inverted surfboard that gets two. Tajiri brings the chops. Psi charges and hits the floor, and Tajiri follows with a somersault plancha over the ringpost. Brawl on the floor and Psicosis nails him with a breaktaking tope con hilo into the first row. Back in, he muffs a top rope rana in embarrassing fashion, and Tajiri gets the handspring elbow for two. Psicosis gets a wheelbarrow suplex for two to take over again. Blind charge misses and Tajiri ties him in the Tree of Woe and dropkicks him for two. More chops, and a rana is reversed to a sunset flip for two by Psicosis. Rollup gets two for Psicosis. Double-KO follows, and a Tajiri stunner gets two. To the top, where Psicosis gets a superplex for two and back up for the guillotine legdrop for two. Tajiri is all “that’s enough of thatÃ¢â‚¬Â, kicks his head off in seventeen different ways, and gets the pin at 14:55. ***3/4
– Francine v. Beulah. From way back when Raven is with Beulah and Stevie is with Francine. Stevie is also special ref. He pats them down, then Beulah makes a big show of taking her jacket off. Catfight, catfight, we’ve got a catfight. Beulah manages to knock Francine out, and strips her down to spandex and then underwear. Beulah gets a frying pan, but Francine goes low, pans her and pulls her clothes off. Raven pushes Francine around and forces Stevie to take sides, so he turns on his girlfriend and superkicks Francine, giving Beulah the win at 7:58. Mindless T&A. DUD
– There’s also a bonus section including the famous Steve-a-Mania promo, Cactus Jack’s first “anti-hardcoreÃ¢â‚¬Â promo, and Fonzie v. Beulah.
The Bottom Line: I wasn’t a big fan of most of the stuff here, but there’s enough to keep most everyone happy from the vampires to those who like good stuff, so call it a recommendation and we’ll see if we can’t take a few more bucks off of Paul’s debt.